By Kathy Roy Gaughran
Senior Marketing Strategist
Digital marketing might sound easy enough to those with basic knowledge of the web. But it’s about so much more than simply good design or strong copy—and it’s certainly not all about posting on Facebook. To be competitive with digital marketing in healthcare, you need to invest in your brand. And paid search and display advertising is a lot more complex than it may seem.
Digital Marketing in Healthcare: Is it ethical?
Before we get into the specifics, let’s start with the easiest way to fail at digital marketing: neglecting to do it altogether. Healthcare marketing is both legal and ethical: you’re helping people get the care they need.
And while HIPAA does prevent some forms of paid advertising used by other businesses, you still have a lot of room to take advantage of the features of Google, Bing, Facebook, Yahoo, and other paid digital advertising platforms. Paid search brings in new patients—fast—and we have the case studies to prove it. So invest in your brand, and don’t make these mistakes.
1. Set an unrealistic budget
Whether you do it yourself or pay an agency to do it for you, insisting on a lower budget than you really need is a mistake. If you cannot afford to do it right, it may not be worth doing at all.
With digital ads, your budget is allocated over a certain amount of time. Unfortunately, the majority of people who click on your ad won’t call your office, no matter how good your website is. But you still pay for each click. So when your budget runs out, the ad stops running, and would-be patients never get the chance to see your advertisement.
We’d love to tell you that you could spend a few bucks a day and see at least a few patients come from it. But it simply doesn’t work that way. You have to be competitive. Prices vary based on your market and the demand for your services.
We can’t tell you how much you’ll spend exactly without doing research for your market. We can say it’s more than just a few bucks a day—but it’s worth it.
2. Send prospective patients to an outdated website
So you’ve put some money towards your digital advertising. You’ve targeted the right keywords so people searching for your brand can find your advertisement. People are clicking on your ads and going to your website. But for some reason, you aren’t getting any calls.
What’s the problem? It’s probably your website. And outdated or poorly designed website won’t necessarily look terrible. But it probably has design elements or copy that are not considered “best practices.”
That means it could be missing elements like phone numbers and forms where people can easily find them. It may be slow to load, or it might be difficult to use on a mobile device.
In fact, a poorly performing website can actually affect your ad placement. The search engines may lower your quality score, which docks the position of your ad (if it gets seen at all). This can also happen if the wording in your advertisement has little or nothing to do with the wording on your website.
So spend time and money improving your website if you want successful ads. Better yet, send them to a landing page that’s independent from the rest of your website. An independent landing page targets one particular service and eliminates website distractions that can prevent people from calling your office. Call our digital team for more information
3. Let someone answer the phones without any training
There’s only so much an advertisement can do. It’s important to have a tracking system in place so that you know whether patients are actually calling. And if they are calling, but you haven’t noticed more patients, it’s time to listen to your calls.
There are HIPAA-compliant call recording systems that allow you to listen to calls and see whether your staff is doing a good job of converting calls. Most practice and hospital staff could use more training; it’s all part of what makes your organization great. We’ve heard a lot of staff members send people away for insurance reasons, call services “expensive,” or even attempt to diagnose a prospective patient over the phone. (Yikes!)
When you have the right people on the phones, there’s no reason you shouldn’t bring in most of the patients who call. They are ready to schedule an appointment. Your staff simply needs to follow through.
All in all, digital marketing in healthcare is all about the details. It’s not just about the advertisement itself. It’s about the money you’re willing to spend, your website, and the people who answer the phones. But good advertising is what brings this all together.
For help with your digital advertising, give us a call at 800-656-0907, or schedule a consultation here.
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